Wednesday, April 17, 2013 1:00 AM
On April 21, 1944, Mrs. Ersel L. Moore Baskin of north-east Neshoba County received a Western Union telegram from Washington, D.C., that read: "Regret to inform You your Husband Corporal Roy Y. Baskin was one twenty April slightly wounded in action period - You will be advised as reports of condition are received." The injured twenty-eight year-old Neshoba Corporal returned to the Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, for treatment of a shrapnel wound in his left leg. Staff Sergeant B.J. "Bud" Denihan, a close friend and member of Baskin's unit, Company A, 310th Engineer Battalion, wrote three letters to Roy Baskin. Parts of Denihan's letters read:
Someone must have been praying for you as I can't figure how that 88 [mm mortar shell] came directly over your head without your paying the supreme sacrifice. You will always be remembered in my cherished thoughts of war experiences. I say cherished not for the love of war but for your wonderful display of grit and courage. We certainly are all proud of you from the Captain down. It gave me a tingling sensation to observe your painful suffering, your directing and aiding doctors as to where and what extent your injuries were. This act of guts I could not possibly overlook and spread this welcomed news among the men of the entire company.
Roy, I have held back inquiring how badly you were hurt.
I do hope you do not misinterpret my inquiry, but really I am very much interested in your condition and would like to know if you lost any of your limbs? Jeff Allen received a letter from his mother stating they gave you a good write up in the newspaper in your home town.
I know you do not go in for this rah rah stuff, but I assure you if I knew any of the local newspapers names, I would write them and give them first hand information as to the courage and heroism you displayed.
Yes, I would yell it from the roof tops in your home state. As I have stated before I will carry this display of guts with me to the grave.
I received your very informative letter, which was read by all the boys in the Platoon. Lt. Graham and Capt. Kennedy. Needless to say they were extremely happy to learn that you won your close battle and that you are returning back to normal health with all your facilities.
We have been through some very, very, close calls and some how or other during each one I think of you, so when you mention about being in spirit with us I know you are uttering the truth. Someone, and I am very happy you are one of them, must undoubtably be praying for us, as we have been very lucky in comparison to some of the companies in the battalion.
My only wish is that you have all your limbs. Your spirit will never die in the memory of the men and especially myself.
Corporal Roy Young Baskin gradually recovered from his '"slight" wound he received in Italy in April 1944.
Doctors, however, could not repair the shrapnel damage, and amputated the courageous Neshoba combat engineer's left leg at the knee.
Civil War Veterans
Cook, John Wesley* - Private; enlisted March 1, 1862 at Philadelphia, Mississippi, in Company D, 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment; age twenty-three; farmer. Hospitalized with measles at Chimborazo Hospital #4 at Richmond, Va., May 11, 1862 to June 8, 1862; hospitalized with pneumonia at the General Hospital at Farmville, Va., June 28, 1862 to July 22, 1862; hospitalized with febris remittens at Howard's Grove Hospital, Richmond, Sept. 17, 1862; transferred to Chimborazo Hospital #5 at Richmond, Dec. 11, 1862 to Jan. 3, 1863; wounded in the arm ("comminuted fracture of right humerous high up" at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863; captured at Gettysburg, July 5, 1863; "arm amputated at the shoulder by double flaps," July 6, 1863; hospitalized at the U.S.A. Camp Letterman General Hospital at Gettysburg, July 29, 1863; transferred from Camp Letterman, Sept. 1, 1863; hospitalized at the U.S.A. General Hospital, West's Building, Baltimore, Maryland, Sept. 2, 1863; exchanged at City Point, Va., Sept. 27, 1863; hospitalized at Howard's Grove Hospital, Sept. 29, 1863; furloughed for sixty days, Oct. 5, 1863; retired and assigned to Invalid Corps at Demopolis, Alabama, Oct. 6, 1864.
World War II Veterans
Cook, John David* -- Apprentice Seaman to Ship's Serviceman Third Class; enlisted on Aug. 11, 1942 at Jackson, Mississippi, in the United States Navy; age twenty-two; dry cleaner worker/laundryman; nick-named "Cookie;" served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations. Served also in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of Operations aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga (aircraft carrier); participated in the battles of the Solomon Islands and Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, Feb. 1945 to Match 1945; severely injured (lower body totally bruised) when a Japanese "kami-kaze" pilot crashed his aircraft into the Saratoga, slamming Serviceman Cook into the steel bulkhead below deck; discharged at New Orleans, Louisiana, Oct. 13, 1945; described as five feet eleven inches tall, weighing 180 pounds, with red hair and blue eyes.
*World War II Veteran John David Cook was a first cousin, twice removed, from Civil War Veteran John Wesley Cook.
Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum
Steven H. Stubbs, Curator
303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.;
Monday thru Friday